South Africa’s rand powered to its firmest all week against the dollar on Friday as risk appetite globally was lifted after a US official said a trade deal with China was getting close.
At 1645 GMT, the rand was 0.81% firmer at 14.68 per dollar, its strongest level in a week.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday that the world’s two largest economies were nearing agreement, providing a fillip to investor confidence.
“We have been speaking about trade tensions and trade negotiations for what feels like forever. And yet, it continues to be an important factor, one that influences market movements on a daily basis. Today is no different,” RMB analyst Siobhan Redford said in a note.
Bonds also firmed, with the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 down 5 basis points to 8.38%.
Stocks ended slightly lower in a slide led by rand hedges hurt by the stronger currency.
The Top-40 share index fell 0.46% while the broader all-share edged 0.31% lower.
Shares of Shoprite barely budged after the grocery giant’s long-time chairman Christo Wiese stepped down on Friday after nearly three decades at the helm.
Mobile operator Telkom dipped 2.65% to R55.80 on the day following its announcement that it was in talks about a potential takeover of Cell C, the country’s third-biggest mobile carrier.
Shares in Cell C’s majority shareholder Blue Label Telecoms also slipped 1.2% to R2.55.
Cell C has been grappling with hefty debts while Telkom, the fourth biggest carrier and 40% owned by the state, is also struggling with an increasingly costly debt burden.